Eat Healthy @ Mary Jane

Mary Jane’s Burgers and Brew in Perryville is the ultimate blend of unique and familiar. Not only that, the food is AMAZING and it’s not at all hard to eat healthy here, if you know what you’re doing. Want to know what you’re doing? Ok, then, keep reading!
Chef Matt Ruesler took a lot of time to sit down with me and talk about the menu, preparation methods and ways you can order that will keep you on track, so thank you, Chef Matt!
Here’s what I learned:
The menu begins with the “Small Plates” section. These are mostly appetizers and as with most appetizers, a lot of them are not too diet-friendly – but you do have options!First, a couple things you should know: the Pretzels with Beer Cheese may sound tame, but the pretzels are actually baked THEN fried so they’re not quite as tame as they sound. Also, the Smoked Wings are indeed smoked, but then, like pretty much all chicken wings, they are deep fried before being tossed in one of four sauces (all homemade).But don’t skip this section yet, because even though the Korean BBQ Skewers are fried according to the menu, Chef Matt has a tip: you can order them grilled instead and order the sauce on the side (since it has quite a bit of sugar). Served over Jasmine rice, these make a perfect appetizer, or even a light lunch!
At the bottom of this section, you’ll see “Street Tacos”. This may be my favorite part of the menu. The taco choices are: Prime Rib Steak Taco, Korean Pork Belly Taco, Breaded Shrimp Taco and Fish Taco. Now, even though it says the shrimp are breaded, you can request them grilled instead. The Fish Tacos are filled with blackened tilapia – which often means that they are dripping in butter – but these are seared in a little olive oil and seasoned. There’s also another option not listed (and this is great for vegetarians) – Mary Jane’s offers a black bean burger (not on menu) upon request. Chef Matt took one and chopped it up as a taco filling and it was DELICIOUS! Any of the tacos can be served with a lettuce wrap instead of shell, too, for the hard-core among you. These are really good, and you should eat them.
Mary Jane’s has 18 different burgers in the “Burgers” section – everything from a PB-Que (peanut butter, bacon, caramelized onion and BBQ sauce) to a Huevos Rancheros (pepper jack, fried egg, guac, ranchero sauce on a pretzel bun). The burgers are 80/20 and weigh 6 oz before cooking, so not exactly low-fat…but you could order one without the bun, cheese or bacon and save a few hundred calories. Also don’t forget about that black bean burger which is likely quite a bit lower in fat. Have a house salad instead of fries for just a couple bucks. Oh, and I’ll go ahead and mention this: Mary Jane’s ketchup (yes, their ketchup) has quite a reputation for being extra tasty. I can attest that this is true, and the reason it’s so good is because it’s homemade with pureed fresh smoked vegetables….and bacon. Luckily, you’re not going to eat more than a couple tablespoons, so it’s all good!
“Other Grub” is where you’ll find other kinds of sandwiches and entrees. I recommend “The Bird” (chicken sandwich, grilled instead of fried, with lettuce instead of slaw, light on the sriracha mayo. Another winner is the Fire Roasted Salmon Club – you could leave off the bread, order a salad, and there ya go!And lastly, under “Salad and Soup”, I recommend the Grilled Shrimp Italian Artichoke salad. You could have the homemade Pico De Gallo as a dressing if you wanted instead of the creamy Italian, or the Verde sauce. You could also have the Crispy Chicken Honey Bee salad with the chicken grilled instead of fried.
Here’s the RED LIGHT/GREEN LIGHT breakdown:
GREEN LIGHT = Go for it!! RED LIGHT= Don’t do it!
  • Korean BBQ Chicken Skewers (grilled)
  • Shrimp Taco (grilled)
  • Fish Taco
  • Black Bean Taco (any of the tacos can come with a lettuce wrap instead of tortilla, too)
  • Pretzels with Beer Cheese Dip
  • Fried Mozzarella
  • Any of the dips
  • Burger without bun, bacon or cheese, salad instead of fries
  • Depends on if it’s your “cheat day” or not!
  • Fire Roasted Salmon Club
  • The “Bird” (grilled, light mayo, no bacon)
  • Korean BBQ Glazed Salmon
 Beer Cheese Smothered Steak Sandwich
  • Grilled Shrimp Italian Artichoke Salad
  • Chicken Honey Bee Salad (grilled)
RED LIGHT:● None ~As always, enjoy the food, enjoy the company – and tip well!


tam photo 
Tamatha Crowson is a 20-year veteran of the fitness industry. She specializes in weight loss, strength and behavior change for women, and of course, food. 

She is the owner TCrowson Fitness, an online training and coaching service and runs the Boot Camp Challenge program in Cape Girardeau. She holds a degree in Fitness Management and is an ACE-Certified Personal Trainer.


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